A sitting BJP councillor of Talala municipality in Gir Somnath district has been booked under the Arms Act and for endangering life or safety of other people after he allegedly fired his revolver in celebration during a religious procession in Talala town Sunday. However, the BJP leader claimed that he had fired a starter gun and not his revolver.
Based on a complaint filed by Chandubhai Chudasama, head constable with Talala police station, BJP councilor Amit Unadkat was booked under Section 30 of the Arms Act 1959 and Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code, late on Sunday evening. The Section 30 of the Arms Act provides for punishment for contravention of conditions of an arms licence, while Section 336 of the IPC relates to acts done negligently or rashly, endangering life or personal safety of others.
In his complaint, Chudasama claimed that Unadkat, the former president of Talala municipality, fired in the air from his personal revolver during a procession taken out in the town to mark the 220th birth anniversary of saint Jalaram. The constable, who was part of the police team deployed for the religious procession, also stated that the incident took place at Girinam Chowk of Talala town at around 11 am Sunday.
Chudasama said that he came to know about the alleged celebratory firing through videos which were being circulated on WhatsApp and aired on local TV news channels.
“Those participating in the procession were playing raas-garba (traditional folk-dance) and that lead to a jam of vehicular traffic in the Chowk. Therefore, (we) remained busy in traffic management and in maintaining law and order. At around 11:30 am, the procession moved towards Lohana Mahajan Vandi from Girinam Chowk and culminated at around 12:30 pm. After that we (policemen) returned to the station. Later on, through videos and photographs which had gone viral on WhatsApp and TV news channels, I came to know that Unadkat fired in the air his private revolver at Girinam Chowk during the Jalaram Jayanti (birth anniversary) procession at around 11 am,” the head constable said in his complaint.
In the video that had gone viral on social media on Sunday, Unadkat, held aloft on shoulders by his supporters, is purportedly seen loading a firearm-like device and then firing in the air as people around him dance to the tunes of a loud music at the Girinam square.
Police said that Unadkat had licence to keep a revolver and that the celebratory firing was done allegedly from that firearm. Chudasama further stated in his complaint that other policemen and officers who were part of the deployment for the procession had identified Unadkat.
Anirudhhsinh Solanki, sub-inspector of Talala police station, said they were in the process of arresting the BJP councillor. “Efforts are on to arrest Unadkat. We shall seize his revolver and then recommend the district magistrate of Gir Somnath to cancel his arms licence as such type of incidents endanger life and safety of public besides violating conditions of licence,” Solanki told The Indian Express on Monday.
However, Unadkat on Monday claimed that he had not fired his revolver but a starter gun. “I had fired a starter and not my revolver. The starter looks exactly like the revolver but it creates only noise and releases smoke when fired,” the BJP leader told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Zaveribhai Thakrar, president of Gir Somnath district unit of the BJP, said that he was aware of the development. “I have come to know through media that a case of firing has been reported in Talala and our councillor has been booked. We are collecting more information about the incident,” he said.